JFK -- Accept Our Diverse World as It Is
By Patrick J. Buchanan
"Kennedy was asking us to recognize that the world consists not only of democrats but also of autocrats, dictatorships, military regimes, monarchs and politburos, and the goal of U.S. foreign policy was not to convert them into political replicas of the USA. Kennedy was willing to put our political model on offer to the world, but not to impose it on anyone..."
Seven months after the Cuban missile crisis, President John F. Kennedy, at American University, laid out his view on how the East-West struggle should be conducted to avoid a catastrophic war that could destroy us both.
Kennedy's message to Moscow and his fellow Americans:
"If (the United States and the Soviet Union) cannot end now our differences, at least we can make the world safe for diversity."
As George Beebe writes in his essay, "It's a Big World: The Importance of Diversity in American Foreign Policy," in the July National Interest, Kennedy later elaborated:
"We must recognize that we cannot remake the world simply by our own command. ... Every nation has its own traditions, its own values, its own aspirations. ... We cannot remake them in our own image."
To Kennedy, a student of history, acceptance of the reality of a world of diverse political systems, many of them unfree, was a precondition of peace on earth and avoidance of a new world war.
Kennedy was asking us to recognize that the world consists not only of democrats but also of autocrats, dictatorships, military regimes, monarchs and politburos, and the goal of U.S. foreign policy was not to convert them into political replicas of the USA.
Kennedy was willing to put our political model on offer to the world, but not to impose it on anyone: "We are unwilling to impose our system on any unwilling people — but we are willing and able to engage in peaceful competition with any people on earth."
The higher goal: "Preserving and protecting a world of diversity in which no one power or no one combination of powers can threaten the security of the United States."
For JFK, national interests transcended democratist ideology.
He knew that throughout our history, we Americans had partnered with dictators, monarchs and autocrats when our interests required it.
The 1778 alliance we forged with the French King Louis XVI was indispensable to the victory at Yorktown that ensured our independence.
Woodrow Wilson took us into World War I as an "associate power" of four great empires — the British, French, Russian and Japanese.
In World War II, we allied with Stalin's Russia against Hitler's Reich.
The South Korea we saved at a cost of 37,000 dead from 1950 to 1953 was ruled by the autocratic and dictatorial Syngman Rhee.
The thrust of Beebe's article is that President Joe Biden, in defining the new post-Cold War era as featuring a new-world ideological struggle, between authoritarian and democracy, is misreading the conflict.
Said Biden, in his major foreign policy address during the campaign: "The triumph of democracy and liberalism over fascism and autocracy created the free world. But this contest does not just define our past. It will define our future."
Biden's Interim National Strategic Security Guidance fully embraces the same thesis of a new world ideological struggle:
"Authoritarianism is on the global march. ... We must join with likeminded allies and partners to revitalize democracy the world over."
Yet, neither of our great adversaries is preaching a global crusade to remake the world in its image.
Communist China does business with Japanese and American capitalists, with South and North Korea, with Arab monarchs and Israelis, with Europeans and Iranians, Africans, Latin Americans and Central Asians, without attempting to impose its system beyond its borders.
Consider Russia. President Vladimir Putin, it is said, is an autocrat.
But Putin's interest in bringing home ethnic Russian kinfolk left behind when the USSR broke apart is a normal and natural expression of his people's and his country's national interest.
So, too, is Moscow's effort at re-knitting relations with Ukraine and Belarus, the two nations with whom Russia's ties are the oldest, closest and deepest, culturally and ethnically.
What Russia, a Black Sea power since the 18th century, is doing in Yalta and the Donbas is understandable from the standpoint of history, ethnicity and national interests.
The question is: What are we doing there?
When did Ukraine, Belarus and Georgia become our concerns?
Russia's alarm at having the world's largest military alliance, NATO, led by its former Cold War adversary, squatting on its front porch from the Arctic Ocean to the Baltic and Black Sea, is as understandable as is Putin's impulse to push that alliance some distance away.
That is what any Russian nationalist ruler would do.
But when did relations between Belarus, Ukraine and Russia become the concern of the USA, 5,000 miles away?
Is Putin an autocrat? But so what?
When has Russia not been ruled by an autocrat?
From Peter the Great to Catherine the Great to Alexander I, Nicholas I, Alexander II, Alexander III and Nicholas II in 1917, Romanov czars ruled Russia. After 1917 came Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev, Leonid Brezhnev, Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin.
During his speech at American University, Kennedy mentioned a crucial fact about the long history between Russia and America:
"Almost unique among the major world powers, we have never been at war with each other."
Maintaining that 230-year tradition should be at the apex of our concerns, not how Vladimir Putin rules what is, after all, his country.
A profound speech, given in 1946, ringing loudly in 2021
(I'm highlighting the bedrock principles of our great country, not the "rockhead" partisan politics of some, today).
The institutions and principles for which we fought will be under growing fire in the years ahead. We, in this country, must be willing to do battle for old ideas that have proved their value with the same enthusiasm that people do for new ideas and creeds.
The tremendous vote in England last year for socialistic collectivism was largely the result of the tremendous enthusiasm that the socialist whipped up with their vigorous propaganda. If you wish to combat a similar move here because mark you, you may be sure there will be such a movement---you must be willing to match your enthusiasm and interest and belief in the old with their interest and enthusiasm and belief in the new and novel.
We must work together; we must recognize that we face great dangers. We must recognize how interdependant we are, we must have the same unity that we had during the war. For years we enjoyed certain blessings, just laws, freedom to speak and believe and write as we please, a government for and by the people. We came to accept these blessings not as privileges for which we must fight, but as our rights. They had lost their glamour--- we had had them too long.
Now, however, in recent years, we have seen these institutions challenged by new doctrines supported by great armies. We have found that these privileges that we had accepted so casually were indeed worth fighting for. The dictators did us a profound service in awaking awakening us to their value. Now we know these principles are never secure. We must work continually to keep them alive.
~This is an excerpt of a speech given by a 29-year-old John F. Kennedy, during his first political campaign, in 1946.
Liberty: (Websters Dictionary) ~Freedom from arbitrary or despotic control~
Extrapolate the following to include our own nation, and those elected officials, on all sides of the political aisle, who ignore our U.S. Constitution, despite their oath to defend it.
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
~President John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961 inaugural address.
~My personal four favorite words in JFK's Inaugural address: ...because it is right.
*This is a non-partisan post. But for those now frothing at the mouth, JFK was a Conservative Democrat, an element of that party which has atrophied during the last 58 years, beginning (in my opinion) with a quote from a 1965 speech given by President Lyndon B. Johnson, when he launched his “equality of outcome” policy as an addition to the "equality of opportunity" content within the civil rights law.
In my opinion, this created disincentive to be a self-reliant individual, and instead, wait for the government to make the way easier.
~My allegiance is to our U.S. Constitution….not any particular political party; liars to their oath of office are the greatest danger to our country. Nowhere in our U.S. Constitution is the word, interpret; officials (including judges) take an oath to uphold the law……they do not take an oath to interpret the law.
October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis: Did God, the “Great Mechanic of the Universe” allow us to have President John F. Kennedy at just the right time in our existence?
With evidence we now have regarding the desires of President Kennedy’s military advisors, we may have had quite a different outcome had there instead been President Nixon in The White House.
With White House advisors, those held over from the Eisenhauer/Nixon administration, most especially JFK’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, and considering their disdain for Kennedy’s reluctance to invade Cuba in October 1962, I believe a “President Nixon” at the time, instead of Kennedy would have either allowed the Joint Chiefs to invade Cuba, resulting in (LUNA/FROG) tactical nuclear missiles being fired upon our troops invading the island, and a possible nuclear retaliatory response in kind against the Soviet Union, or “President Nixon” would have acquiesced to the Soviet Union finishing their nuclear missile installation on Cuba.
The Nixon results? Nuclear War started 90 miles South from Key West, Florida, or nuclear missiles pointed at our United States, from 90+ miles away.
In 1972, Nixon kissed-up to Communist China; would he have kissed-up to the Soviet Union in October of 1962?
Many Kennedy history fans know of his heroics during World War 2, as commander of PT- 109. His boat was sliced in half by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri, and sunk, August 1, 1943. After fifteen hours at sea, eleven survivors made it to a nearby island with Kennedy towing one injured crew member, holding his life-vest strap in his teeth, to land, 3 1/2 miles away. Subsequently decorated with the Navy and Marine Corps medal, and a Purple Heart, Lt. Kennedy was ordered back to the United States for medical treatment for his back injury, sustained during the incident.
Here is what most of my fellow JFK fans have not learned......until now.....
Instead of convalescing, Kennedy asked to be returned to combat duty with another boat, and a new crew. He was assigned the command of PT-59. On November 2, 1943, Kennedy had taken his boat, under heavy enemy fire to a beach on Choiseul River (Solomon Islands), where Marines were surrounded by the Japanese, with their backs to the water. In command of PT-59, Kennedy and his crew saved their lives (55-60 marines), as recounted by one of the survivors, Marine Corp. Col. W.T. Bigger, of McLean, Virginia.
This link provides further details of the incident: www.orwelltoday.com/jfkpt59rescue.shtml